Curator: Michael Newman
Artists’ Architecture I used the work of Archigram and Richard Hamilton, John Voelckerand John McHale’s contribution to the Independent Group’s exhibition from 1956 This is Tomorrow atthe Whitechapel in London to explore the legacy of pop culture and ‘paper’ architecture in relationto what I saw as the increasing commodification of the art world in the 1980’s. The collaborativenature of these artist/architect groups, particularly the making of exhibitions, allowed themto explore ideas in a much more nuanced way than mere object making. For this exhibition oncontemporary Artists’ Architecture I reconstructed several models of their work in ‘peep’ showform to explore latent questions in their practices. With Archigram I was interested in how theirnotions of utopia transformed to distopia.
This is evident if you trace their history through 1964’sThe Walking City where all the apartment dwellers agree that the building should move to NYC to1974’s nomadic houses to be worn like a backpack. With the Independent Group, artists/scientistswho met to discuss ideas in post WW2 London and particularly in Richard Hamilton, I was curiousabout their imaginary relation to popular culture for during this time of there was very littlepopular culture in the UK, yet the work poses the onslaught of popular culture as both inescapableand exuberant. In this work there is a sense of exploration/fascination with all the new forms thatculture might inhabit as well as a simultaneous questioning of these forms and what they mightmean that I find missing in much of the later USA Pop movement. But perhaps this is because at the time they began in 1956, there was no art market in London.